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Anti-virus protection - free or paid ?

25/02/12

Anti-virus protection - free or paid ?

Permalink 12:53:12 pm by Eugene Gardner, Categories: Security, Anti-Virus

I am often asked whether it is worth paying for an Internet Security suite when products like Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG are free. The answer is that it depends on your attitude to risk. If you think yourself unlikely to get caught out then you can take a chance with a free option. If you guess wrong though, I am happy to clean viruses off your PC but the minimum cost would be about the same as 5 years protection from a decent product. Remember that viruses are more virulent and the authors much more cunning than just a year ago - even people who do nothing 'risky' do get infected and suffer identity theft that leads to significant problems.

So what is in most of the paid for ones that is often not in the freebys ?

  • More frequent updates
  • Active Virus Control ? Monitors processes’ (cf. files') behavior while they are running
  • Heuristic algorithm to detect new & unknown viruses
  • Rescue Mode ? Reboots your computer in a trusted environment,
    which is used for cleanup and restoration
  • Virtualized Browser ? Isolates the browser from the operating
    system in a protected (sandboxed) environment to block web-based threats.
  • Vulnerability Scanner ? Checks for missing or outdated security certificates as well as potentially unsafe system settings
  • Antispam ? Stops unwanted e-mail from reaching your Inbox
  • Two-way Firewall ? Monitors your Internet connections and keeps
    strangers from accessing your Wireless connection
  • Parental Control ? Blocks inappropriate content, restricts Web access
    between certain times, prevents new programs from being run
  • Antispyware protection (e.g. adware, spyware, keyloggers, screen wipers)
  • On demand as well as resident file scanning
  • Social Network Protection (e.g. The Facebook, Twitter, MySpace)
  • Search Advisor - marks known suspect websites within the search engine display
  • Personal Data Filter - warns when private information is potentially made public
  • File Shredder - deletes file beyond recovery
  • Encryption - so even if stolen, files are not readable by the thief
  • Backup software - sometime including a free online space
  • Enhanced performance

I advise clients to check with me each year before updating existing software as the latest versions of alternate products may be better. Also, I am normally able to offer a better price than online renewals.

[Edit: 12-May-12] I now offer to make a diary entry to contact clients just before a current product expires.

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